NYer Of The Week: Hip-Hop Educator Allows Young New Yorkers To Express Themselves

The latest New Yorker of the Week is getting back to the roots of hip-hop to teach and inspire young people. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.

For Farbeon Saucedo, "it starts with a heartbeat, it's all about tempo."

But his passion for hip-hop is about more than beats and rhymes; it's about changing education.

"I felt we needed a program that really had an alternative approach to education," says Saucedo. "Even today the education system is really failing a lot of our young people, not recognizing their expertise."

In 2005, he created the "Hip Hop Re:Education Project." Using music, Saucedo hopes to inspire young people to learn and transform communities.

"It's really about the idea that learning is a process, it’s all about life," says Stephanie, one of Saucedo's students.

"Do I want my young people to read books? Yes, of course, and this will help them read books," says Saucedo.

For students like Stephanie, poetry has become a survival strategy.

"The highlight of this program for me is the fact that it became my safe haven," says Stephanie. "My hood is ridiculous, the projects, shootouts, lights, cops looking for people. And I just get under my bed and write a poem."

Another of Saucedo’s goals is to reclaim hip-hop's positive image.

"Hip-hop from its inception has been a tool to build positive, life-affirming community. It's only in recent history that hip-hop has been used to perpetuate negative images and negative messages," says Saucedo.

He hopes to turn that around in New York City and around the world. A recent cyber-session included students from Berlin.

"The beauty in the program's foundation is that language is such a beautiful thing, that people in other countries can't even speak or hear and they can understand," says Stephanie.

"We are not about creating the next greatest rap star. We are about creating situations where young people can practice success," says Saucedo.

So, for using rhythm and rhyme to revive youth education, Farbeon Saucedo is the latest New Yorker of the Week. For more information on the Hip Hop Re:Education Project, visit www.reeducate.org.

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